Nearly 2 million more travelers than last year planning July 4 getaways
OMAHA, NE. (June 25, 2019) – Travel this Independence Day holiday period is expected to reach a record level with nearly 49 million Americans taking trips of 50 miles or more away from home during the five-day holiday period. This is the highest level since AAA began tracking holiday travel 19 years ago.
Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning trips. With a record-high 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile, AAA predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion in the major metro areas on Wednesday, July 3, as commuters mix with holiday travelers. The holiday period runs through Sunday, July 7.
Factors driving the increase in travel include favorable gas prices, low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes.
The national fuel price average of $2.67 a gallon is 17 cents lower than last year. Daily updates on fuel prices, along with a helpful fuel cost calculating tool for long-distance drives, can be found at www.gasprices.AAA.com.
Independence Day holiday travel, by mode
- Automobiles (84.7%): The vast majority of travelers – 41.4 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
- Planes (8.1%): 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships (7.2%): Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.
AAA to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Additionally, before hitting the road, motorists need to be prepared for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
Download 511 apps for updates on road closures and detours
For the latest information on road and bridge closures due to flooding, roadway construction, and detours, visit the state department of roads or transportation websites for updates and information on downloadable apps for travelers (App Store and Google Play). This includes:
Nebraska – http://511.nebraska.gov
Iowa – www.511ia.org
Missouri – www.modot.org
State parks and recreation areas are expected to be busy this holiday period, and many communities across the country are hosting outdoor concerts and events. Nebraska families are encouraged to visit www.outdoornebraska.gov and https://visitnebraska.com to learn more about the numerous offerings across the state.
Travelers paying more for July 4 car rentals and airfares
Although fuel costs are lower, other travel costs are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily.
Top Independence Day travel booking destinations
Fun-in-the-sun cities like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings. Popular destinations booked with the assistance of AAA Travel include: Orlando, Honolulu, Seattle, Las Vegas, Anaheim, New York City, Boston, Maui, Anchorage, and Chicago.
For those planning an international vacation, Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada -- a top departure port for Alaskan cruises -- rounding out the top five.
According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.
AAA reminds travelers that it’s not too late to plan an Independence Day trip. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.
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